Students at Baby Love on Tuesday 2 December witnessed a disturbance outside the club when two individuals were denied entry and allegedly verbally abused revellers.
An Oxford undergraduate who was at Baby Love during the incident said, “I saw a crowd of people outside and went to see what was going on. There were two police cars, and one man was handcuffed outside a car and speaking to a police officer. People who’d been outside told me that some men had come from nowhere, started calling everyone in the smoking area ‘faggots’ and lunging at people. With hindsight, it sounds mildly terrifying – at the time most of us were far too smashed to appreciate quite how risky the situation was.”
David Mark Dunning, a student at St Benet’s, commented, “I did witness a little of what went on at Baby Love on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning. I didn’t witness anything in the club but I did hear that there was an incident inside. However, as I was leaving the club I was redirected from the steps at the front of the club and told to leave down the disabled access ramp as just at the bottom of the steps there was parked a police car. The bouncers blocked the way, but I could see two police officers were there, and I watched as they arrested two homophobic people, at least one of which, I was told, had a knife. After having watched the police handcuff the homophobes, I then proceeded to leave with my boyfriend, via the ramp, because I wanted to avoid any possibility of danger.”
A spokesperson for Baby Love told Cherwell, “We are aware that 2 residents of Simon House tried to enter the bar and were refused entry by the security on the door. At present we cannot confirm what, (or if anything at all was said), and / or to whom.
“Baby Love is sensitive to the fact that Simon House is a long established hostel for the Homeless and other vulnerable people in Oxford. The management is clear that they do not support any antisocial behaviour of any kind from its residents. They are in the process of investigating the incident and are following their strict protocol that governs the behaviour of its residents.
“Baby Love is working with the management of Simon House and the Police on this matter.”
Baby Love Bar relocated to its current site at the Castle Tavern on Paradise Street earler this year.
James Blythe, another Oxford student, commented, “Enjoying the final Baby Love of term fuelled by wonderful LGBTQSoc drinks, I was shocked to encounter homophobic abuse raining down from a neighbouring property. The staff of Babylove were amazing and reacted swiftly, as did the police, but it’s a grim reminder of how much violence LGBTQ people routinely experience in 2014 and from which my privilege generally protects me.”
In response to the incident, Chris Pike, OUSU VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, commented, “It is very unpleasant to hear that LGBTQ students and locals had to endure this deeply unpleasant behaviour. I am pleased that action was taken quickly to combat the problem, and I hope that Baby Love will continue to act to prevent this behaviour around their venue in future. OUSU will continue to work for LGBTQ students as a community of our university as a top priority, and any students who have had individual problems as a result of their sexuality or gender should feel able to get advice and support from our Student Advice Service.”
Thames Valley Police were unavailable for comment.